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This Zeppelin Sure Ain’t Made of Led! New Gigantic Airship!

When the late Keith Moon of The Who told Robert Plant that his new band would go over like a lead balloon, he had no idea he’d given birth to the name the band would use – Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin’s were a popular way to travel until the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. Since then, airships have been relegated to providing aerial footage of sporting events. But recently a massive cargo-carrying airship has taken shape inside one of the 17-story wooden blimp hangars at the former military base in Tustin.

According to aircraft maker Worldwide Aeros Corp., construction is complete on a 36,000-pound blimp-like aircraft designed for the military to carry tons of cargo to remote areas around the world.

The Montebello company hopes to have a first flight in the coming months and to demonstrate cargo-carrying capability shortly thereafter.

Worldwide Aeros, a company of about 100 employees, built the prototype under a contract of about $35 million from the Pentagon and NASA.

The Aeroscraft is a zeppelin with a 230-foot rigid skeleton made of aluminum and carbon fiber. It’s a new type of hybrid aircraft that combines airplane and airship technologies and doesn’t need a long runway to take off or land because it has piston engines that allow it to move vertically and a new high-tech buoyancy control system.

Ultimately, the company wants to be able to carry up to 66 tons.

“This will land in Africa, Afghanistan,” Pasternak told The Times in September, “a Wal-Mart parking lot — wherever.”

Check out the ‘making of’ video!

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